Kitimat Chamber of Commerce awarded special funding

The Kitimat Chamber of Commerce has been awarded money from a $1.4 million Employer Innovation Fund.

Media release – The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) today announced that the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce is one of 11 organizations awarded funding from the $1.4 million Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) to help develop initiatives and resources to attract and integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces.

The Kitimat Chamber of Commerce project involves designing and delivering workshops in a number of northern BC communities to inform employers about ways to use a competency-based approach for hiring new immigrants. Other EIF projects that received funding include the creation of resources to assist employers in assessing foreign qualifications, an onboarding program that helps employers integrate skilled immigrants into the workplace and outreach campaigns to recruit and retain skilled new immigrants to a community and an industry.

“I’d like to congratulate the 11 organizations that were selected to receive funding through the Employer Innovation Fund,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “Employers understand the challenges in hiring, retaining and integrating immigrants into their workplaces, and these projects will help employers engage in the development of programs, resources and tools to allow them to better facilitate immigrant employment in meeting labour market challenges.”

Funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Canada-BC Immigration Agreement, the Employer Innovation Fund was announced at the 2012 Leaders’ Summit on Immigrant Employment hosted by IEC-BC in the fall. EIF projects, which are employer-led, employer-driven and address employer needs to effectively attract, hire and retain skilled immigrants in BC workplaces, were funded in all regions of the province and in six key industry sectors to employers, sector organizations and business associations.

“The EIF is a unique fund that will help connect employers seeking skilled talent and BC’s skilled immigrants who are not working or who are under-unemployed,” said Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. “These projects will go a long way to helping BC employers develop new and innovative ways to address labour skills shortages and facilitate the integration of skilled new immigrants into their workplaces.”

With more than one million job openings in the next decade due to an aging workforce and economic growth, skilled immigrant talent is needed to address the labour skills shortage and demand for skilled workers in BC.

“In this ever-changing economy, business owners large and small are looking for solutions to fill their voids for skilled talent in their workplaces,” said Derick Stinson, President, Kitimat Chamber of Commerce. “By empowering business owners with the resources to meet these demands from organizations like IEC-BC, employers will be better equipped to take advantage of the opportunities in the marketplace, and in turn help to strengthen our economy.”

In the awarding of EIF funding, priority was given to projects that impact more than just one employer, show the potential for sustainability post-project, focus on hiring and retaining immigrants who are permanent residents of BC, and demonstrate a direct benefit to small and medium-size businesses.